Notes Vijay Phil Uninspired

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Tour Championship by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- It appears that Vijay Singh will have to be content with nine wins this year.
The world's No. 1 player had another nondescript day at East Lake, shooting an even-par 70 that left him 11 strokes behind co-leaders Tiger Woods and Jay Haas heading into Sunday's final round of the Tour Championship.
Singh came into the season-ending all-star tournament with a shot to become the first player since 1950 to win 10 tournaments in a year. But he's faded too far back to make a serious run.
'You've got to be in contention to be 100 percent into it,' he said, pausing outside the historic clubhouse. 'I'm just not too into it.'
Singh didn't even have his regular caddie. Dave Renwick had a sore hip and was replaced on the bag by Joey Diovisalvi, normally the golfer's trainer.
'[Renwick] is hurting pretty good,' Singh said. 'It's an ongoing thing for him. He'll be all right.'
Singh fell out of contention Friday, struggling with the greens on his way to a 73. He putted better in the third round but had trouble with his other clubs.
'It just didn't happen for me,' he said. 'I couldn't get any momentum. Anytime I tried to get something going, I went backward.'
Singh finished with a couple of scrambling pars. At the 17th, his second shot ricocheted off a temporary spectator box to the right of the green, rolling back into a bunker. He managed to get up-and-down.
Likewise at the par-3 18th, Singh came up just short of the green with his tee shot and had to chip up for another tap-in par.
It wasn't good enough on this brilliantly sunny day, when most of those up ahead shot in the 60s.
Lefty's Lament
Phil Mickelson is ready for a vacation.
The Masters champion is pleased with the way he's finishing the year, shooting a 3-under 67 on Saturday to move into a tie for ninth place. Only one more round to go before the offseason.
'I'm really looking forward to next year,' Lefty said. 'But I do need a break. I didn't really give myself the sort of break after the PGA [Championship] that I needed to. I'm looking forward to being off next week.'
Mickelson and his family are planning a ski trip and a vacation in Mexico. They'll also be together in Hawaii at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a low-pressure event for the four major winners this year.
Mickelson finally broke through with his victory at Augusta, and he was in contention at the other three majors as well.
'I missed the Grand Slam by five shots,' he said. 'I felt I did a lot of things well this year, especially in the hardest of conditions.'
Lefty struggled down the stretch, including a disappointing performance in the Ryder Cup. He would like to end the season on a good note.
'My swing feels good. The problem today was the putter,' Mickelson said after Saturday's round. 'It was really slick out there. But I'm very pleased with a 3 under, even though a left a few shots out there.'
Filling In
Billy Andrade is playing an unexpected role at the Tour Championship.
The golfer, who lives in Atlanta, filled in with a microphone after ABC's Judy Rankin broke her left elbow and bruised her face in a fall Friday at the network compound.
Rankin, an on-course analyst, flew home to Texas and left her spot on the broadcast team to Andrade, whose only playing experience at the season-ending event came in 1991.
Bouncing Back
Mike Weir didn't let a poor finish the previous day keep him down.
The diminutive Canadian came back to shoot a 3-under 67 in Saturday's third round, leaving him four strokes behind co-leaders Tiger Woods and Jay Haas.
'I made some nice putts,' Weir said. 'I could have made a couple more, but that's golf. I'm still in this thing.'
Weir could have been in the lead if not for a bogey-bogey-double bogey finish on Friday. At the par-3 18th, he needed four shots to get down from just behind the green.
'I just wanted to put that behind me,' Weir said. 'It was unfortunate that I finished the way I did, but I didn't feel like it was from really poor play or anything. I felt like I hit one bad shot on 16.'
Weir had only one bogey Saturday, and he closed with three straight pars.
Tiger Woods, who is paired with Jay Haas in the final group Sunday, played a round with Haas' 22-year-old son, Bill, at the Deutsche Bank Championship two months ago. ... Playing in just his second Tour Championship, John Daly is tied for 16th at 2 over. His only other appearance was a third-place showing in 1991, after his stunning victory in the PGA Championship. ... The $6 million purse includes just over $1 million for the winner.
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

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    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”